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The Scriptures and the Power of God

Posted by Matt Postiff January 3, 2015 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts 

In Matthew 22:29, Jesus rebuked the Sadducees with these words:

You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

He was replying to their story about a woman who had seven husbands in her lifetime, and their question as to which of the seven would be her husband after the resurrection occurred. Since Matthew commented in verse 23 that the Sadducees reject the doctrine of resurrection, the reader knows that their question was not an honest one, but was meant as a trap or counter-example to show that the resurrection was an untenable doctrine. Behind their "presenting question" was their bald assertion: resurrection is impossible.

Jesus' reply rebuked them for not understanding two things: (1) the Scriptures and (2) the power of God. In the first place, they did not understand the Scriptures because the instruction about Levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:25) said nothing about what happens to the marriage as far as the eternal, post-resurrection state is concerned. They were adding to the text, and basically were claiming that marriage lasts beyond death, something which this passage and later revelation clarifies is not the case (e.g. Romans 7:2-3, 1 Corinthians 7:39). Jesus flat out states that there is a resurrection, and that marriage is not part of it.

In the second place, they did not understand the Scriptures because they missed an obvious passage of their Hebrew Bible that taught that God is (not was) the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Those three men are not simply dead and gone; rather they are in some sense living! There is a life after this life, and the present tense is proves it!

Finally, in the third place, the Sadducees did not understand the power of God. God can indeed raise people from the dead. He has done so, and He will do so en masse in the future. He can raise dead people to life without any problem at all, just like He can create something out of nothing (Genesis 1:1) and He can create spiritual life in spiritually dead people (Ephesians 2:1). We know from other Scripture that resurrection entails rejoining the living and conscious spirit of a person from heaven to that person's resurrected material body. To doubt this is to doubt the very power of God, something no believer should ever do!

May we be people who know both the Scriptures and the power of God.

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